Flemish businesses urge EU to ‘shame’ bad governments

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European governments that fail to cut red tape, reform their labour markets and implement key elements of the knowledge economy should be publicly shamed, Jan Buysse of the Flanders Chamber of Commerce and Industry told EURACTIV in an interview.

Buysse, a senior advisor on EU affairs to Belgian businesses, argued that national and regional governments are holding up reforms that would boost growth and create jobs. 

He wants EU authorities to publish annual league tables on efficiency, flexicurity and administrative burdens in order to pile pressure on underperforming public authorities. 

These proposals would form part of a revamp of the Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs, which Buysse says has failed because it did not include strict targets. 

“The new Lisbon Strategy post-2010 should offer a greater guarantee of success by focusing entirely on strengthening the knowledge economy and making its implementation more binding,” he says. 

Buysse suggests focusing on a limited number of hard objectives which will make it easier to measure success. 

“Each year the performance of the different member states should be placed side by side and should be compared and ranked on a ‘naming and shaming’ basis. Member states will thus be put under greater pressure to carry out necessary, but not always popular, reforms,” he says. 

According to Buysse, flexicurity should be a key element in the revised Lisbon Strategy, but he wants a “flexicurity scoreboard” to rank performance. 

“In order to get the member states to improve the efficiency of their government apparatus it is necessary that the European Commission publishes an annual Scoreboard of Government Efficiency,” says the Flemish business advocate, who also suggests drawing up an Annual Scoreboard of Administrative Burdens. 

Asked about his hopes for Belgium’s six-month EU presidency, which begins in summer 2010, Buysse said he expects a specific focus on developing central aspects of the knowledge economy, including progress on the long-awaited Community patent. 

Jan Buysse was speaking to Gary Finnegan. 

To read the interview in full, please click here.

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